Tired of mosquitoes biting your arms, gnats buzzing your ears, and flies circling your camp kitchen? We’re right there with you, and a good screen house is the best solution we’ve found when the weather gets warm and the bugs come out of hiding.
Screen houses have become a campground mainstay for good reason: Just throw one up around your camp kitchen or picnic table, and you’ve got a portable safe haven against mother nature’s most annoying accomplice.
After testing and analyzing dozens of popular models currently available, we found the REI Screen House Shelter to be the best option for the overwhelming majority of campers. We love the Screen House Shelter because it takes interior space, convenience, and bug protection to the next level, and does it all with high-quality materials and a smart layout that works great for group gatherings.
The Screen House Shelter won’t be everyone’s cup of tea though, which is why we’ve also selected all our favorite alternatives for every kind of camper. Whether you’re looking for something with more weather protection, more space, or just something more affordable, we’ve got you covered in the list below.
We’ve also put together a handy buyer’s guide down at the bottom of the article to help get anyone up to speed on what makes any screen house for camping worth buying. There we break down the pros and cons of different types of shelters, as well as what to look for when buying a screen house of your own.
Alright enough preamble, let’s dive into our favorite screen houses!
|REI Screen House Shelter: Best Screen House For Camping Overall||A high-quality and highly-durable screen house that nails the essentials. Impressively light and compact when packed away. See Review|
|Eureka Northern Breeze 12 Screenhouse: Highest Overall Quality||Bombproof construction, outstanding weather protection, and incredible versatility. Drop-down panels double as rain protection or sun awnings. See Review|
|Coleman Screen Canopy Tent: Best Screen House For Camping On A Budget||Solid bug protection and interior space on a tight budget. Instant tent design goes up quick and easy. See Review|
|Gazelle G6 Six-Sided Gazebo||A unique screen house that goes up faster than anything else we’ve tested thanks to its pop-out hub design. Built to last with impressively durable materials. See Review|
|EZ Up Screen Cube||A smart design that transforms any existing 10’x10’ canopy into a screen house. Includes a stitched-in floor for unmatched bug protection. See Review|
|Core Lighted Instant Screen House||A large instant-cabin-style screen house with integrated LED lighting. Battery-powered light travels with you, no hook-ups required. See Review|
Best Screen Houses For Camping
REI Screen House Shelter
– Floor size: 120” x 120” (305cm x 305cm)
– Peak height: 84” (213cm)
– Weight: 13 lbs (5.9kg)
– Packed size: 29” x 9” x 9” (74cm x 23cm x 23cm)
– Number of doors: 2
– Shape: Cabin
– Price: $$
REI makes its screen houses for camping the same way they make their tents, which made the REI Co-op Screen House Shelter an easy choice for our roundup. With tough pre-bent aluminum poles, rugged polyester taffeta fabric, and acres of fine no-see-um mesh on every wall for 360-degree views, the Screen House is the ideal shelter from sun and bugs day and night.
The REI Screen House Shelter nails all the basics for comfort and durability, but we also appreciate that REI goes a step further with their bug protection: By adding a five-inch stretch of fabric along the ground around the inside of the screen house, this shelter protects against bugs that crawl as well as those that fly, which means you can enjoy those burgers and weenies in peace wherever you pitch it.
Our other favorite feature of the Screen House Shelter is that REI built it with two large doors, one in either corner of the shelter. This makes for much easier entry and exit, especially for larger groups gathered around a table for a meal.
Our main gripe with the REI Co-op Screen House Shelter is that for some reason REI doesn’t include any guy out points on this screen house. That means you’ll have to pick up the accessory rainfly if you want to properly protect it from stronger winds, which feels like a bit of a cash grab considering the Screen House Shelter is already one of the more expensive options on our list. We’ll also note that while the available rainfly keeps the majority of the rain out of the screen house, it only covers the roof and one side panel, so while the Screen House Shelter excels at shielding from bugs and sun, it’s not the best wet-weather option on our list.
|– High-quality fabrics and an all-aluminum frame|
– Elevated bug protection with a ground skirt for creepy-crawlies
– Convenient two-door layout for easier ingress
|– Rainfy and guylines aren’t included|
– Available rainfly isn’t full coverage
Eureka Northern Breeze 12 Screenhouse: Highest Overall Quality
– Floor size: 144” x 144” (366cm x 366cm)
– Peak height: 96” (244cm)
– Weight: 30.2 lbs (13.7 lbs)
– Packed size: 36” x 14” x 14” (91cm x 36cm)
– Number of doors: 2
– Shape: Cabin
– Price: $$$
The Eureka Northern Breeze is the screen house all other screen houses aspire to. If you’re looking for the toughest, most well-made screen house for camping money can buy, nothing can beat the Northern Breeze in terms of durability, versatility, and weather protection.
That’s because the Eureka Northern Breeze Screenhouse’s entire frame is built from burly 6000 series aluminum, poles, hubs, and all. The canopy is equally stout, and every inch is made from waterproof 150-denier polyester oxford fabric.
What makes the Northern Breeze particularly stand out to us, however, is its outstanding versatility: Each of the four side panels can be rolled up and stashed away for a classic screen house experience, or you can roll them down and secure them in place for a 100% waterproof safe haven in bad weather. Eureka even designed each of the side panels to function as convertible awnings and included three additional aluminum poles in the bag so you’ve got everything you need to set one up as well.
We have zero complaints with the quality or capability of this screen house. With two guylines at each corner, this is the one shelter we’d have zero concerns about leaving up in a proper storm. The Northern Breeze takes a bit longer to set up than any of the “instant” style designs on our list and also happens to be our most expensive pick as well, but if you want a bombproof screen house that will serve you well for years to come, the Eureka has no equal.
|– Bulletproof construction|
– Best weather protection available
– Convertible awning with included poles
|– Very expensive|
– Takes a bit longer to set up
Coleman Screened Canopy Tent: Best On A Budget
– Floor size: 180” x 156” (457cm x 396cm)
– Peak height: 84” (213cm)
– Weight: 24.9 lbs (11.3 kg)
– Packed size: 52” x 8” x 8” (132cm x 20cm x 20cm)
– Number of doors: 2
– Shape: Hexagon
– Price: $
The Coleman Screened Canopy Tent takes our pick for the best screen house for camping on a budget because it covers all the essentials at a price that can’t be beaten. Tall enough to walk around in, large enough to pitch around a campground table, and, of course, reliably bug-proof.
Aside from the price, our favorite feature of this Coleman screen house is its instant-tent style design. Simply unfold the pre-attached poles, extend the telescoping legs, and you’re good to go. From bag to pitched, this screen house goes up in well under ten minutes, and that includes securing all the stakes and guylines.
Speaking of guylines, we’re also big fans of Coleman’s judicious use of wind protection. Every corner of the Screened Canopy’s roof includes its own pre-attached guyline, giving you a total of six points to secure the structure. Rest assured, this one is staying put wherever you pitch it.
As a budget-focused shelter, our main concern with this screen house is the material quality. Granted, Coleman uses their impressively thick “Polyguard 2X” fabric in the Screened canopy, but the poles are made from fairly thin-walled steel, which could be problematic in heavier winds. We’ll also note that this screen house’s walls are angled more sharply than others on our list, so depending on the dimensions of your table/chair setup, walking around could be a bit awkward near the walls of the shelter.
|– Great price point|
– Large enough for most campsite tables
– Sets up fast with pre-attached poles
|– Some material quality concerns|
– Feels a bit cramped when standing
Gazelle G6 Six-Sided Screen Gazebo
– Floor size: 124” x 124” (315cm x 315cm)
– Peak height: 86” (218cm)
– Weight: 48 lbs (21.8 lbs)
– Packed size: 73” x 8” x 8” (185cm x 20cm x 20cm)
– Number of doors: 1
– Shape: Hexagon
– Price: $$
We’ve been outspoken fans of Gazelle’s innovative hub pop-up tents for their ease of use and durability, and as fate would have it, Gazelle builds their unique six-sided screen house, the G6 Gazebo, from the very same materials.
That includes a rugged 210-denier oxford polyester fabric in the roof and canopy, reliable YKK zippers throughout the screen house, and the same tight-weave no-see-um mesh, which keeps even the smallest critters outside where they belong. Construction like this translates to a more reliable and longer-lasting shelter, so you know you’ll get your money out of this screen house. The G6 also uses the exact same pop-out hub technology as Gazelle’s popular tents, which means it goes from in the bag to fully deployed in around a minute.
We also give Gazelle props for equipping each of the tent’s six corners with its own guy out point, all of which are backed with a reinforced layer of polyester and extra stitching for strength. Another highlight we found with the G6 is that Gazelle offers optional wind panels for each of the G6’s walls. They’re sold separately but aren’t particularly expensive, and allow you to convert the G6 into a rain-worthy hangout for wet days and nights at camp.
We don’t really have any major complaints with this screen house. It’s big enough for eight campers plus a table, goes up faster than anything else on our list, and is made from seriously tough materials. If we had to nitpick anything, it would simply be that all the extra accessories available for the G6 (there’s also a 6-sided footprint on offer) must be purchased separately to get the most out of the shelter.
|– Goes up easily in under a minute|
– Rugged materials throughout
– Can be converted into a dry hangout on rainy days
|– Footprint and wind panels sold separately|
– 73” packed length won’t fit in the trunks of smaller vehicles
EZ Up Screen Cube
– Floor size: 111” x 111” (282cm x 282cm)
– Peak height: 76” (193cm)
– Weight: 11 lbs (5 kg)
– Packed size: 25” x 8” x 8” (64cm x 20cm x 20cm)
– Number of doors: 1
– Shape: Square
– Price: $$
Already own a pop-up canopy but wish it kept the bugs at bay? Check out the EZ Up Screen Cube, a unique take on the camping screen house which converts any existing 10’x10’ canopy into a fully screened-in shelter.
We love this option because most households already have some sort of generic canopy hiding in the garage somewhere, whether it’s an actual EZ Up brand or one of the dozens of low-cost alternatives from brands like Coleman, Amazon Basics, or Ozark Trail. The Screen Cube simply unrolls, clips into the roof of your canopy, then attaches to each of the four legs with thick velcro straps.
Every inch of the EZ Up Screen Cube looks and feels above average in terms of quality, from the thick polyester floor to the beefy zipper at the oversized entrance. We also appreciate that unlike many budget-focused options, the Screen Cube comes with a three-year warranty, which is yet another vote of confidence in the quality of EZ Up’s construction.
As far as downsides go, while many campers will appreciate the Screen Cube’s sewn-in floor for its 100% bugproof seal, this also prevents this screen house from simply “slipping over” existing camp tables. Not an issue if you bring all your own furniture, but personally we love to take advantage of a campsite table any time it’s an option. We’ll also note that although the Screen Cube itself is well-made, the reliability of your screen house for camping ultimately falls on the quality of the 10’x10’ shelter you pair it with, which will also cost you extra if you don’t already own a suitable candidate.
|– Outstanding material quality|
– Attached floor = Fully sealed off from insects
– Works with any 10’x10’ canopy
|– 10’ x 10’ canopy not included|
– Attached floor isn’t ideal for campground tables
– Water resistance dependent on our canopy of choice
Core Lighted Instant Screen House
– Floor size: 144” x 120” (366cm x 305cm)
– Peak height: 84” (213cm)
– Weight: 32 lbs (14.5 kg)
– Packed size: 42” x 8” x 8” (107cm x 20cm x 20cm)
– Number of doors: 2
– Shape: Cabin
– Price: $$
If you’re planning on using your screen house after dark, you’ll need something to light up the interior, be it a lantern, string lights, or just a few good headlamps. That’s why we love the Core Lighted Instant Screen House, a well-appointed screen house for camping that comes with its own LED lighting already installed. Normally bringing this much light into camp after dark means inviting a swarm of bugs to join your party, but with the Core Screen House, that’s simply not an issue.
Core’s system is clever: By stashing a full-length string of LED lights inside a strip of fabric in the ceiling, they’re able to illuminate the entire shelter with the simple push of a button, which we like because you don’t have to spend any extra time hanging auxiliary lights or finding a place to plug them in. We also appreciate that the entire system is battery-powered, so the Core screen house works independently of electrical hookups and extension cords when we’re car camping outside of dedicated campgrounds.
We’ll also give Core props for including a stand-alone rainfly with this version of their screen house, which also includes six pre-attached guylines for added wind resistance. There’s no option to seal off the enclosure entirely, but we’ve found setups like these generally keep both campers and gear kept in the center of the structure dry in light to moderate rain.
This model is also an “instant cabin” style shelter, which makes for a quick and easy setup, but also comes with a drawback: Because these systems depend on a relatively complex array of folding poles and hinges, there are a lot more potential failure points in the Core screen house than traditional pole-in-sleeve designs. We’ll also note that some owners have reported receiving shelters with small holes burnt into portions of the fabric. It’s a rare issue, but you’ll want to give your screen room a good once over when you receive it to ensure an exchange isn’t warranted.
|– Instant cabin design for easy set-up|
– Included rainfly adds weather-worthiness
– Integrated battery-powered lighting great for handouts after dark
|– Complex pre-attached pole design is convenient but more failure prone|
– Some owners report quality control issues with fabric
Buyer’s Guide To The Best Screen Houses For Camping
Well there you have it. Our favorite camping screen rooms for hanging outdoors rain or shine. Whether you’re considering one of our picks from the list above or another model that didn’t make our roundup, here are the metrics we use to determine which screen houses make the cut.
Space and Comfort
When it comes to space, we think of screen houses much the same way we think of camping tents: The size of your ideal screen house should be dictated by the number of people you plan on having inside of it.
The main difference to consider, however, is that 99% of campers will also want some kind of furniture inside their screen house. Some will bring their own table and chairs, while others will use the usual table and benches found in most campsites, but either way, you’ll need ample room to sit and move around, plus some extra room for any gear or foodstuffs you want to keep inside as well.
For smaller groups of 4-6 people, we’ve found the best screen houses for camping are around 10’ x 10’. This leaves enough room for a standard camp table, plus room for everyone to sit, with space left over to walk around the table without being too cramped. Any more than 6 campers and you’ll likely want a bit more square footage, so plan accordingly.
The other main part of the comfort equation is height, and once again, we generally apply the same rules here we apply to a large camping tent: You’re going to want to be able to stand up and move around freely inside without touching the ceiling. Ideally we look for a screen house with around seven feet of peak height, as this leaves room in the ceiling to hang a lantern or two without impacting head room.
There are two main types of camping screen houses out there: Those with weather protection and those without. Some campers only intend to use their screen houses to keep bugs and sun at bay on sunny days, but we’ve found a little extra weather protection makes for a much more versatile shelter.
In terms of weather protection, we look for two main things. The first is the ability to completely “seal” the screen house off from outside elements. Some models do this by adding zippable panels of waterproof fabric to the mesh panels of the screen room, while others use a more traditional approach with a separate removable rainfly, just like a tent.
Either way, a screen house for camping that can be 100% sealed off from rain doubles as a protected space you and our friends can still hang out under when the weather isn’t cooperating. Whether that’s for an afternoon lunch or late-night card games around a camping table, we’ve found this feature can salvage weekends in the woods that would be otherwise ruined by weather.
The second thing we look for, both in waterproof and screen-only shelters, is wind resistance. We’ve seen our fair share of screen houses picked up and thrown across the campground in heavy winds, and trust us: You don’t want to be the camper chasing his shelter through other people’s campsites.
For this reason, we look for screen houses with a minimum of four solid guyline attachment points, as well as legs that can be easily staked out for added stability. This, in addition to a durable frame that can withstand heavy breezes, will ensure your screen room doesn’t go wandering off while you’re away from camp.
Ease of Set-up
Screen houses are all about convenience: Getting out of the sun and away from bugs so you can focus on enjoying nature with friends and family. There’s nothing enjoyable or convenient about a screen house that’s difficult to set up though, so we recommend looking for a shelter that’s easy to pitch, especially if you’ll be setting yours up solo.
The easiest screen houses to pitch use an “instant tent” design in one form or another. Some use lighting-fast pop-out hubs while others use pre-attached frames with telescoping poles, but both are worth their weight in gold when it comes time to put them up and take them down.
Unfortunately instant tent designs use more complicated frame systems and thus have more moving parts and more potential points of failure. This is why the toughest systems typically use traditional collapsing pole segments, which are carried over from the tent camping world as tried-and-true systems built to handle heavy winds without breaking a sweat.
That’s not to say that all fast-pitch designs are unreliable or that all traditional designs are bulletproof, however, so we recommend giving each a good look over to determine their overall quality. We tend to think of this as a choice between convenience and simplicity, so choose the design that best suits your priorities around camp.
When considering the durability of a screen house for camping, we generally have the same thought process we use for selecting a good camping tent: Tough fabrics, reliable frames, and protection from wind damage all work together to make a more durable and long-lasting screen house. We’ve already covered the wind part above, so let’s focus on fabric and frame choices.
In terms of fabrics, the thicker, the better. Thicker fabrics with higher denier ratings are tougher and more abrasion resistant, and therefore better suited to hold up to the rigors of regular use and unpredictable weather.
When looking at frames, our first priority is on the type of materials used. Much like our favorite camping tents, we’ve found the best screen houses for camping use all-aluminum frames, which are durable, rust-proof, and reasonably lightweight. Painted, powder coated, or galvanized steel deliver similar durability on a tighter budget, just make sure you pay attention to the thickness of the walls of the poles, as thinner steel has a habit of bending or even snapping under high winds.
You’ll also find fiberglass poles in the frames of many screen houses, and while fiberglass generally isn’t as touch as aluminum or steel, it isn’t a deal breaker either. Pop-out hub tents require the flexibility of fiberglass to function, and some cabin tents also use fiberglass in the roof to keep tension on the structure to help shed rainfall. As is the case with steel poles, just pay attention to the quality and thickness of any fiberglass poles used in your screen house: Thicker walls and wider diameter poles are your friends here.
Weight and Packed Size
Screen houses are primarily used either for car camping or for backyard relaxation, so we don’t consider weight or packed size to be particularly important when selecting a screen house. Granted, we prefer models that can be easily lifted and carried by a single person, but even the heaviest options out there are typically well below the 40-pound mark.
The one important caveat we’ll mention here is your vehicle: Regardless of the type of screen house you choose, if you’re planning on camping with it, you’ll need to be able to transport it to and from camp in your car. For this reason, we recommend paying close attention to the total packed length of any screen house you’re considering to ensure it will fit into the trunk/hatch/cargo area of your vehicle.
The Wise Adventurer’s Verdict on Camping Screen Houses
For all the reasons mentioned above, we found the REI Co-op Screen House Shelter to be the best screen house for camping overall. REI absolutely nailed this one in terms of durability, interior space, and bug protection, which will be exactly what most campers are looking for in a shelter like this.
If you’re looking for something with better weather protection (and a laundry list of premium features to boot), we’re convinced the Eureka Northern Breeze is simply the best screen money can buy. It’s more expensive than the REI model, but it’s also even tougher and much more versatile.
Both of those options can be a little spendy though, which is why we recommend the Coleman Screened Canopy for anyone shopping on a budget. Coleman checked all the important boxes with this one as it’s big enough to fit around a camp table and properly bug-proof, while its instant tent design also adds convenience to the equation without the bump in price.